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Color me blue


I’ve been feeling a little blue this week.
It all started when I came across a video posted on Facebook that really set me off. The clip was taken by an anonymous bystander in a store of what is presumably a mother and her 4-year-old. The preschooler is acting horribly, throwing a foul-mouthed tantrum because she wants something she can’t have. A store employee or manager steps in to intervenes and keeps the child from grabbing what it wants. The woman and child are black. A sloppily-dressed bystander is also black. The man intervening is white.
The post was offered by way of “the world is going to hell, here’s proof” and “this is why I need to own an assault rifle.”
I found the video offensive for several reasons. First off, it appears to be taken and posted without permission. Second, what does a misbehaving 4-year-old prove? That’s been happening forever, only now everyone’s got a cell phone. What four-year-old hasn’t misbehaved? Third, it’s race baiting. To make matters worse, the person who chose to repost the unauthorized, inane, bigoted message is a public school teacher. Aren’t teachers mandatory reporters of abuse? Sorry, but there’s something unsettling to me about a teacher reposting something like this.
To make matters doubly worse, the person who posted it is someone I admire.
To make matters triply worse, I lost my civility in an ensuing tit for tat of comments.
Meanwhile, immigration raids have been in the news.
Down in the small Iowa town of Mount Pleasant, federal agents swooped in and arrested 32 men, mostly from Guatemala, but also from Mexico, El Salvador and Honduras. The men were working at Midwest Precast Concrete and hauled off the worksite, probably never to be seen again by wives and children at home.
That’s what happened in 2008 when ICE agents raided a kosher slaughterhouse called Agripocessors, Inc. This time it was in Postville, Iowa. That raid netted 400 illegals, in the waning days of the Bush administration. Not only was Agriprocessors hiring a battalion of obviously undocumented immigrants, its managers were systematically sexually and financially abusing the women, some of them still girls. Women were raped; worker’s pay was docked in return for fake IDs.
Plant owner Aaron Rubashkin, a wealthy member of the Hasidic Jewish community, wasn’t even a target at first and never charged with any violation of labor laws. He was, however, convicted of bank fraud and related charges and sentenced to 27 years in prison. He was, pardon my French, a dirty SOB, and he should have got worse. Nevertheless, President Trump commuted his sentence to time served, and charges of immigration violations cancelled.
To date, there’s been nothing in the news about charges against Midwest Precast Concrete.
We never would have had an illegal immigration problem in this country if only the justice system cracked down on the people who employed them. But those people, like Rubashkin, are the same people writing campaign contribution checks to both parties.
Meanwhile, Republicans in Iowa have pushed through the most stringent abortion restrictions in the country. At the same time they cut funding for family planning counseling. Many of the Republicans who pushed the legislation through were the same ones who recently were successfully sued for sexual harassment in the work place. The same pious jerks were grabbing asses. Who paid their fines when they were found guilty?
Next week I’ll try to write something funny or uplifting, but for now color me blue.